Moral development at the United States Naval Academy: the midshipman's perspective
Clark, Timothy M.
Pierce, Albert C.
French, Dana P.
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This study examined midshipmen perceptions of moral development at the Naval Academy. Six focus groups comprising a total of 45 first-class midshipmen were conducted to discover aspects of the Naval Academy experience that have positive, neutral and negative impacts on midshipmen's moral development. Focus group midshipmen reported that good personal examples, open-forum discussions of ethical case studies, assuming midshipmen leadership responsibilities and participation in sports have a positive impact on their moral development. Parts of the Naval Academy experience that had a neutral impact on their moral development included some aspects of the core ethics course, the behavior of some of their peers, and the "directed development" approach they perceived in many of the Academy programs. Focus group midshipmen also believed that there were too many ethics and character programs, and that they were too repetitious and too routine to have more than a neutral impact on their moral development. Finally, focus group midshipmen cited bad example by some officers, the Bancroft Hall culture, and weaknesses in the Honor System as having a negative impact on their moral development. This study concluded with several recommendations from the midshipmen and researcher to improve moral development efforts at the Naval Academy.
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